2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0: Even Better Times
December 19, 2011
The previous weekend I highlighted the Mustang GT 5.0's ability to do fun things in a straight line.
This past weekend I decided to see what the Mustang is like when turning left and right in anger. Or at least mildly agitated.
So I was off, in search of twisty back roads.
First up was the Ortega Highway (74), a smooth two-lane ribbon of asphalt comprised mostly of high-speed sweepers. When I wasn't stuck behind slower cars, the Mustang performed admirably, cornering pretty flat, those Michelin Pilot Sport PS2s providing plenty of grip, nice effort from the steering with good precision.
Of course when you open the 'Stang 5.0 up on a straightaway, it just rips. Sweet music.
Next up, and my real destination, was Palomar Mountain Road. I headed up the tight side, which is made up of largely second-gear corners. This was a much better test of the tires yet they still gave plenty of adhesion. Certainly more than I'm used to in a Mustang, that's for sure.
The brakes have a spongy feel that's unbecoming of Brembos. It's not horrible or anything, but the pedal should be firmer.
Since Palomar sits at about 5,500 feet, there was a bit of slush/snow/water here and there toward the top. Slush and summer tires aren't a great mix. So I slowed down.
Heading back down the less-tight side of Palomar, and away from the slush and onto clean and dry pavement, I picked the pace back up. Again, I was very impressed that the Mustang was perfectly happy being driven in attack-the-corners-mode of a sports car. And it gets to that next bend like right now.
Even though the brakes never experienced real fade, the run up and down Palomar (along with the aforementioned Ortega jaunt) did do a number on the rear pads. Ahh, the familiar scraping sound when I got home. Not that surprising: This car has been driven hard, and has even been on the race track. We'll get those rear pads replaced and check on the fronts while we're at it.
All in all, a fun day in the Mustang. And proof that this car can do much more than just go fast in a straight line.
Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 18,804 miles.